5 Signs You're Putting Too Much Effort Into A Relationship That Isn't Working
Even healthy relationships are hard sometimes. You have to find a balance and learn to communicate effectively — especially when things get tough. All of this only really works if you have a partner who is just as dedicated to making it work as you are. You're on the same team in terms of effort, even when you feel like rival teams in the playoffs. If that's not true, and if your hearts aren't equally dedicated to your success a couple, then there are likely several signs you’re putting too much effort into a relationship that isn't working — one that isn't meant to be.
"There are two types of people in a relationship: Those who actively want to be there, and those who're simply along for the ride," Susan Winter, NYC relationship expert and love coach, tells Elite Daily. "Ideally, relationships should be 50-50. In real life that percentage may be fluid. For example, your partner gives a lot in some areas and not so much in others. But no matter how the give and take ratio shakes out, a fulfilling partnership is based on balance. Relationships that lack balance breed resentment." That resentment is a relationship killer, and it reveals itself in various ways. Here are the signs the experts say you should be on the lookout for.
1. You’re anxious about the relationship.
If you’re not totally sure how you feel about your relationship, dating coach and co-founder of A Good First Date, Grace Lee, tells Elite Daily to stop and think about how you feel physically. “There are obvious physical signs when you're in a bad relationship: the knot in your stomach, over-reacting to simple situations or getting emotional about things that normally wouldn't affect you,” says Lee. All of that anxiety may be a sign that you're trying too hard to make a relationship that isn't meant to be work.
2. You’ve started overanalyzing everything.
We’ve all had that moment (or moments, if you’re me) where you start over-analyzing everything, trying to make sure that you're not missing the hidden meaning behind every word and gesture. As Lee explains, that need to over analyze is quite possibly rooted in the uncertainty you are feeling in your relationship. “You may find yourself obsessing over text messages and past conversations,” she says. “When you feel unloved, you scroll to the most loving message ever received and take comfort in it rather than face the overwhelming evidence that something is missing.”
3. You have to work to get your feelings acknowledged.
Sex and dating expert Heather Claus tells Elite Daily the clearest sign that you are putting too much effort into your relationship is when you have to work too hard to get your partner to acknowledge your feelings. “A partner invested in your relationship with you will pay attention to your feelings and make you feel validated with feedback and communication,” she says.
Brenda Della Casa, a career and relationship coach and author of Cinderella Was A Liar, suggests asking yourself one question. "How sympathetic are they to your concerns?" she tells Elite Daily. She says to pay close attention to how they answer. “When you tell the person that you're not feeling great about the way you are being treated or that you miss time with them, are they quick to make an excuse or call you ‘too sensitive’, or do they share what's going on and promise to work together to improve the relationship?”
4. You always have to initiate affection and communication.
Who always initiates affection in your relationship? Is it you? If so, Claus says that's a big red flag. “It’s a clear sign a relationship is not meant to be when you are the only one initiating affection," she says. As she explains, this is one of those things that just has to come naturally in the relationship.“There is no way to force someone to love or even like us back, and if they are withdrawing constantly, then it's a pretty clear sign you are a mismatch.”
The same is true for communication. "You’re always reaching out first. It doesn’t matter if it’s a text, a call or an email. If you’re always the one initiating communication, your partner simply lacks interest," Sonya Schwartz, a relationship expert and owner of Her Aspiration, tells Elite Daily. "Things won’t change overnight, so you might want to let this relationship go."
Andrea Amour, dating coach and founder of UpDate Coaching, agrees. “Approach it in an investigatory rather than an accusatory way," she tells Elite Daily. "[For example] 'Hey, I've noticed I'm always the one to ask if you're free. Should I be reading into that?’ If they don't have a good excuse or don't care, they might not be as invested as you are.”
5. You work around their schedule — always.
How much of your energy goes into making sure your relationship is convenient for your partner? If the answer is a lot, then Schwartz says that’s a red flag that you are putting in all the effort. “There is nothing wrong with adjusting your schedule to see your partner if they have a busy period, but if it’s only you adjusting your schedule regardless of how busy they are, that’s a big red flag your partner isn’t as interested in this relationship as you are.”
Maysie Tift, a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, tells Elite Daily she agrees, and adds you shouldn’t ignore what the signals and your common sense are telling you. “If someone really wants to be with you, they will generally show it by enthusiastically making time for you and expressing their feelings," she says. "Give the relationship some time to develop, but if you feel yourself growing more attached over time, and it's not reciprocated, this may be a sign that the chemistry is just not be there on their side — or something else is going on. Have a talk with your partner and try to bring things out into the open.” She also adds that, as much as you may not want to, it might be times to face the facts. "Consider the proverbial ‘they just aren't into you.’”
What you should do if you're putting in too much effort
If some, or all, of this is sounding familiar, it’s time to start getting honest with yourself about the state of your relationship, which begs the question, “Now what?” The experts agree that the first step is to talk to your partner about what you’re feeling. “Do your best to not accuse or blame," Claus advises. "Instead, use phrases like, ‘I noticed that recently we haven't been connecting,’ or ‘We've been arguing a lot lately, and I'm wondering how we might stop that cycle.’ Your partner's response to these talks will tell you a lot about where their head is at. Do they stop and listen to you, and work with you to create better lines of communication and affection, or do they clam up, or worse, suggest you are imagining things?”
“Don't do it after or as part of a blowout argument, instead find a time where you are both calm," Lee warns. "If the end result of that conversation is that that they don’t want to change, she says it’s time to make a clean break. “Explain in the most simple and straightforward way possible that this relationship isn't for you,” she says. “Don't leave a vague opening or promise of getting back together.”
If the conversation leaves you with hope that you’ve been heard by your partner and that things could change, great! But Claus suggests that you set a time frame to see if they follow through. “In some cases it helps to give a certain time frame, like three weeks or six months (based on how long you've had your relationship and how strong your feelings of not-rightness are) to see a major improvement toward a happier and healthier relationship for you both,” she says.
Taken together, what does all this mean? I think Della Casa says it best: “Ultimately, healthy and happy relationships are mutual in all areas, both parties should feel understood, valued, cared for and respected. It's really that simple.”